Yet again I asked the Home Office minister if we will remain a member of EUROPOL next April or if we would have to recruit to replace the lost expertise and workforce.
The minister talks about hopes and desires to secure a similar relationship. Let’s be clear: EUROPOL is vital for our national security. We are the second biggest contributor to it and a sizeable number of its policies originate from UK policing standards.
The outgoing Welsh born director of EUROPOL, Rob Wainwright, has already signalled his fear of our loss of influence if we leave the organisation and I agree with him. We need to maintain strong cooperation with our European allies and losing EUROPOL is a surefire way to hasten this demise.
The ability to track down those who have committed crimes and terrorist atrocities in Northern Ireland, who may very well be in the Republic of Ireland, is dependent on the police and security forces having access to EUROPOL and the European Arrest Warrant.
If we lose access to these important tools following Brexit we could see our police and security forces hampered in bringing about justice. The Secretary of State was able to praise the current work of all police forces on the island of Ireland, but failed to say if we will maintain our partnership in EUROPOL and the European Arrest Warrant.
Once again I pressed the Government for an answer as to whether or not we will remain a member of EUROPOL when we leave the EU. It is an important organisation that helps the UK police and security authorities bring criminals to justice. Not being a member will weaken our safety.
At Committee Stage of the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2016/17, I intervened on the speech of former Immigration Minister, Mark Harper MP, on the implications of devolved administrations on leaving the EU.
I pointed out to Mr. Harper that in some issues, such as policing which is devolved in Northern Ireland and Scotland, it is only right that a consensus can be reached as to the future relationship with the EU. As I have noted before EUROJUST and EUROPOL are but two areas where the devolved administrations control of policing will mean that they will have an opinion on if they wish to remain a member of these institutions.
The Government backbencher could not provide an adequate response. Instead skating around the issue because of a fear of undermining his own sides argument that devolved administrations, like the Welsh Assembly, should not be involved in the decision making process. Something I strongly believe should happen.
There are still another two days in Committee of the full House and I will continue to intervene and vote for new clauses and amendments that protect the interests of Delyn and the UK more widely.